Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer
at 09:29 AM Nov 18 2016

An x-ray pulsar forms when a dense neutron star's strong gravitational field allows it to suck in matter from the other star in the binary system. The impact of stellar material forms x-ray hotspots on the neutron star that shift as it rotates—that's what pulses are.

Sarah Fecht
at 11:19 AM Nov 2 2016

Between 2009 and 2013, the Kepler space telescope stared at a single patch of the sky, searching for exoplanets. Around the star KIC 8462852, it appears to have spotted something much stranger.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 11:19 AM Nov 2 2016

It is harder to learn to fly a second time. Virgin Galactic, the private spaceflight firm headed by billionaire Richard Branson, lost its first SpaceShipTwo in a pilot-caused crashed in 2014, setting back dreams of passenger spaceflight. The new SpaceShipTwo, named VSS Unity (and not SpaceShipThree), was unveiled in February. Today, slung beneath the wing of its WhiteKnightTwo mothership Eve, Unity took to the sky for its second-ever flight.

Kate Baggaley
at 11:19 AM Nov 2 2016
Space // 

Europe's Schiaparelli Mars lander did not have had the smooth landing its team had hoped for on October 19, but at least it didn't stay missing for long. A high-resolution camera onboard a NASA satellite discovered the errant spacecraft's parachute and other fragments within days of impact. But not all lost Mars landers have been found so quickly—another European spacecraft, Beagle-2, disappeared for more than a decade, from the time of its failed landing in 2003 all the way until 2015.

Kate Baggaley
at 11:19 AM Nov 2 2016

When humans finally set foot on the dusty terrain of Mars, they will not be travelling alone. Some of the astronauts on future missions will be too small to be seen with the naked eye. But that doesn't mean they won't have a vital role to play.

Samantha Cole
at 10:26 AM Oct 25 2016

Astronomers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Arizona State University are developing the most sensitive millimeter-wavelength polarimetric camera on Earth, called TolTEC. The camera will use 7,000 detectors across three different bands in the electromagnetic spectrum. When it's completed, it'll be coupled with the 164-foot diameter Large Millimeter Telescope, the world's largest single-dish steerable millimetre-wavelength telescope, which is located in Puebla, Mexico.

Charles Q. Choi
at 10:26 AM Oct 25 2016
Space // 

In August, astronomers revealed that the nearest star system to the sun, Alpha Centauri, possesses a world roughly 1.3 times Earth's mass. Alpha Centauri consists of three stars — Alpha Centauri A, Alpha Centauri B, and a small red dwarf named Proxima Centauri — and this newfound planet appears to call Proxima Centauri home.

 
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